Strategy. Innovation. Brand.


When you’re on stage to give a persuasive presentation, you have a lot of variables to manage. The postings in this category teach you how to come across as a comfortable, confident presenter.

Where the mistakes are

I should have memorized that part.

I should have memorized that part.

I’m a pretty good public speaker. But I’ve noticed that the mistakes I make tend to come in predictable locations: near the beginning or near the end. At the beginning of a speech, I’m often keyed up and I sometimes forget things or simply start too fast. Near the end of the speech, I want to go for the big, dramatic finish. Sometimes it works; other times, it doesn’t. Between the beginning and the end, I tend to calm down, settle into a rhythm and do reasonably well. So I’ve improved my presentation skills by learning to take special precautions near the beginning and the end.  Learn how in the video.

Can you live without PowerPoint?

It seems that we’re addicted to PowerPoint. Every time we have an opportunity to present, we prepare by firing up PowerPoint, reviewing old slide sets, and creating new slides. Can we break the habit?  I’ve been trying to live without PowerPoint for about a year now. When I start a speaking presentation I ask, “Would it be OK if I don’t use PowerPoint today?”  The audience reaction is uniformly positive and I can feel their defense mechanisms start to soften. It also makes for a more engaging, more interactive presentation. Watch the video for tips on how to do it.

Is Humor Persuasive?

luaghing laughterSpeakers often begin their presentations with a joke. Sometimes it’s funny. Sometimes it’s relevant. Sometimes it’s none of the above. Can humor help persuade an audience? Well, yes and no. Self-deprecating humor can help you build credibility with an audience and that can help you be persuasive.

But the main reason to use humor is to hold the audience’s attention. People like to laugh. So if you make them laugh early in a presentation, they’ll look for additional laugh cues later in the presentation. They’ll pay more attention because they don’t want to miss your next joke.

On the other hand, humor will never move an audience to action. People who are laughing just want to keep on laughing. If you want an audience to actually do something, the most potent emotion is anger. Humor helps people absorb information. Anger moves people to action. It’s why our political ads are so angry. Learn more in the video.

Speaking Human

When we want to let people know how smart we are during a speaking presentation, we often dress up our language. We use more formal diction, bigger words, and formidable phrasing. We often toss in a lot of jargon as well. Typically, however, it doesn’t work. We just sound stuffy, self-important, and boring. We’re trying to show the audience how smart we are which is always a losing strategy. Much better to show the audience how smart they are. You do this by speaking human — conversational, easy-to-understand, and plain spoken. As the saying goes, you should eschew obfuscation. Learn more in the video.

The First Three Minutes

three oclockMy clients often describe the first three minutes of a speaking presentation as “pure torture.” You need to step up, capture the audience’s attention, establish your credibility, and lay out your key themes. At the same time, you need to remember your key messages, your communication objectives, and the sound bites that you want your audience to walk away with. It’s a lot to remember and the pressure is likely to raise your blood pressure and play havoc with your memory. But, relax. There are three simple tips to help you stay on message while remaining comfortable and confident. Just watch the video.

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